Council approves new towing rules

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Council today approved a business licensing regime and regulations governing towing services in Ottawa.

Towing companies, tow truck drivers and vehicle storage facility operators will each need a business license to operate in Ottawa. They will also need to follow new regulations put in place to protect consumers and enhance public safety, and charge flat rates for key towing and storage services. The new rules govern tow truck driver conduct at accident scenes, requiring they disclose towing rates, provide documentation to facilitate follow-ups and investigations, and communicate where vehicles are stored. Storage facilities will need to cap storage fees at $60 per day.

Council approved a host agreement with Waste Management, finalizing an outstanding condition from the expansion approval for the West Carleton Environmental Centre landfill on Carp Road. The agreement provides compensation to neighbouring communities for the burden of hosting an active landfill site. The agreement includes provisions for reducing the service area from which the facility can accept waste; and the operator, Waste Management, will pay fees to the City for waste deposited at the site each year. Staff will report back in the first half of 2022 with recommendations on how to use this revenue.

Staff provided an update on By-law and Regulatory Services’ activities in 2019 and 2020. The report measures the service’s performance, outlines efforts to mitigate significant increase in demand in recent years and details the key role staff played in the City’s COVID-19 response. In 2020, the service enforced COVID-19 regulations, conducted proactive patrols and business compliance checks, and responded to more than 13,000 pandemic-related service requests, including more than 2,400 calls about the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law.

Council received an update on the second quarter results of the 2021 budget, with projections to the end of the year. Halfway through the year, the City has an overall surplus of $13.4 million, including a surplus of $12.5 million for tax-supported programs and $865,000 for rate-supported services. The City anticipates an overall year-end surplus of $8.1 million.

Council received a progress update on the City’s Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which aims to build a workforce that reflects the community it serves and provide an inclusive work culture. This approach seeks to ensure that a diversity of minds, experiences and perspectives are shaping the City’s stakeholder engagement, operations and services. The plan includes an equitable hiring strategy, increased community engagement, new learning initiatives and better data-collection tools. By 2024, the City aims to achieve targets for workforce representation of employment equity groups based on Canada’s 2018 regional workforce availability rates. Since 2019, City workforce representation has gone up for Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, and persons with disabilities.

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